PORTER TOWNSHIP | Coach Candy Wilson said she gave her Boone Grove girls basketball team a "come to Jesus speech" at halftime of Tuesday's game against Hanover Central.
After taking a 10-point lead, the Wolves blew it in the second quarter, scoring two points off of free throws and letting Hanover take a one-point lead.
Boone Grove reciprocated the defensive effort in the fourth quarter, holding back Hanover Central and finishing with a 32-29 win. The victory guaranteed that Hanover Central would not leave the Porter County Conference with the Kup, the league's traveling trophy.
"(Wilson) told us we all needed to calm down and that we weren't playing the way we could," said senior Paige Aguilera, who scored three of her team's five fourth-quarter points. "She said that there was nothing she could say, that we all needed to dig deep and find it within ourselves."
"I chewed them out pretty good at halftime," Wilson said. "We've got to keep encouraging. We had a decent third quarter, but we had a problem putting the ball in the hole."
Aguilera scored a team-high 11 points, then overheated on the court after the game. She said she felt fine after she was tended to by team personnel.
The Wildcats were playing without leading scorer Blayr Poston, about which Hanover Central coach Doug Nelson said he had no comment. Instead, junior Kristen Roper led all scorers with 13 points and 14 rebounds.
"Kristen Roper was the best player on the floor when we got her the ball," Nelson said. "I said 'Get her the (darn) ball,' but we didn't get it to her as much as we would have liked. I thought she was the best player on the floor."
Roper scored seven of her points in the second quarter, as the Wildcats outscored the Wolves 11-2 in the frame. Hanover led 17-16 at halftime, while outrebounding the Wolves 21-11.
The biggest challenge for the Wildcats (11-7, 4-2) seemed to be at the free-throw line, where they shot 5-of-14.
"That's the game. We missed nine free throws on somebody else's gym," Nelson said. "That's the game."
The game was rescheduled from last Thursday because of ice on the roads. Wilson said that helped the Wolves (14-6, 5-2), who were coming off a PCC Tournament victory and a three-point loss to Lowell.
"I thought it was to our advantage a little bit to have the game today," Wilson said. "When you play a team in your conference and you know them pretty well, it's tough to beat them a second time. We got down on them last year by 19, and I don't know how, but we came back in that one, too. You knew it was going to be a tough one. We snuck that one out."